Most of us enter the new year exhausted, bloated and confused. From Halloween treats to Thanksgiving Day sweets, additional high-fructose corn syrup and sugar can mess with our insulin to the point of headaches and stomachaches.  But it doesn’t end there. Add copious amounts of alcohol throughout the weeks leading to Christmas and you have the perfect recipe for an inflammatory nightmare. 

We all overindulge every now and again but the laws of physics remain the same: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Inflammation is often the source of most of our pain.  So many holiday drinks are loaded with hidden sugars that exacerbate the pain, rendering us weak to their appeal and effects.  According to the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, here’s how it works: 

The liver plays a central role in detoxifying and producing a balanced cytokine milieu. The central nervous system contributes to anti-inflammatory regulation through neuroimmunoendocrine actions. Chronic alcohol use impairs not only gut and liver functions, but also multi-organ interactions, leading to persistent systemic inflammation and ultimately, to organ damage.  

If that explanation is too heavy for you, pay attention to the keywords – liver, central nervous system and persistent systemic inflammation.  

Now that we’ve turned the page, a “dry January” isn’t only appealing, but healthier too.  It may seem nearly impossible at the moment, but developing a reasonable plan will help you make impactful changes in 2020.  Replace your old habit with a new, more enjoyable one. For example, if your old routine involved coming home from a day at work to unwind with a glass of wine and Netflix, take a bath in Epsom salts and listen to an audiobook.  Or if grabbing a beer at the bar around the corner is a social event, replace it with meeting a friend at the gym. Both options are healthier and more rewarding in the long run.

In short, inflammation can lead to pain if left unchecked.  Your immune system response to infection or injury with an inflammatory response.  Stop making yourself sick.  Visit Dr. Fast at the Back Pain Clinic Belleville to discuss your pain management needs and your health goals for 2020!